Saturday, April 1, 2017

The babies have arrived

One baby was a whole week behind schedule due to it being sent by the somewhat useless DHL Smart Post which never really works. The other arrived before time, having been shipped via USPS. As I'm currently under the weather with some kind of bug or other, I'm unlikely to do anything with either item until at least tomorrow and more likely next weekend.

The temperature inside the bus is currently 91F so pretty sweaty actually. I opened a window briefly for a cool breeze then remembered the mosquitoes and closed it. Just before that I'd been talking to my dad over the phone and I'd mentioned a new idea for ventilation. I could put an air intake on the side of the bus and draw air up from a low level, pass it through a cheap Honda lawnmower filter and thus get some really good airflow going. This means more solar panels to power it but since I can get them relatively cheaply, that's not going to be too bad.

On the subject of solar panels, the other day I was reading about a Scottish island which was 90% powered by renewable energy with diesel backup generators. They had solar, wind and tidal energy systems. Interestingly, they found solar in winter barely gave them 10% of the rated output and in summer with 18 hours of sunshine, around 25% of the rated output. That's broadly in line with my experiences. I concluded solar panels were utter garbage if you believed the lies told by manufacturers about their rated power. 

One of my projects involved a wind turbine. As it is, the turbine generator that arrived is next to useless. Half of it - the important half - is made of plastic. It's really not worth my while even trying to build something around something so flimsy. I quietly abandoned that project. 
My reversing horn arrived yesterday. Today I tested it and it produces a lovely loud beeping noise. The old horn is located just behind the rear wheels which seems strange given that it's something needed at the back of the bus. This has a different mounting setup too. I can mount it pointing down. That means water splashing into it can drain out. I'll mount it close to the back bumper, add some more cable conduit and extend my cable. That should take care of the reversing horn problem!
The other thing that arrived was a 10ah battery. It's not a snug fit in my ammunition box so it'll need spacers but my sealed lead acid setup is now at 15ah. That should be more than sufficient to run all the fans I need and charge some USB devices. The plan is still to install that in the cockpit. First priority is to finish working underneath the bus. I still need a mud flap at the front on the left. I still need to add more cable clamps. I still need to install my reversing horn and now to extend the cable to it. I also need to rejiggers the wires from the solar charge controller so I can pass the positive through my available cable to the battery box.

The battery box will be pretty simple. Once I have installed the battery tie downs and spacers, I'll add a fuse for each battery plus a thermal fuse and I'll tape packets of bicarbonate of soda to the roof of the box in order to make any fires self extinguishing. Then I'll have two very simple power plugs which I'll have to solder. The power leads will be external which gives me many more options. I don't want to set out making stuff complicated!

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